A few years ago (okay, more like 10 ……), I mistakenly thought I had completed the transition from traditional to digital advertising. The initial role of the advertising was to drive awareness and perception of the brand. When advertising took a digital form, this approach persisted for several years.
Remember when “banner ads” about business selling vitamin supplements would display on the Health & Fitness section of www.msn.com? Or a hotel chain’s banner would display in the travel section of the network? Businesses then focused on “audience delivery”: they paid a flat fee for the digital network to display their “banners” x number of times to viewers. This visual form of digital advertising was called “display advertising”
Then consumers started to embrace technology, and in the process, handing over so much data and information on their behavior and preferences. They became increasingly empowered by communicating their opinions on so many social media platforms that I started losing count…
I noticed customers gradually becoming more individualistic, more cynical and turning from “hunter” to “hunted”. My role was evolving into an “Emotional Intelligence and Empathic Inspiration Officer” (EIEIO) as I established the voice of the company and aligned my responses to digital traces of their daily comments and behavior on social media sites.
This greater transparency of the sales process explains the shift from visual to text /search advertising, and increasingly, relationship marketing, because they are behavior-based. If you think I’m exaggerating, hop over to Wix.com, a free website builder. Their Application Marketplace offers no less than 30+ applications dedicated to “getting the conversation started”: Chat, Online poll, Comments, Testimonials, Forum, Newsletter sign-up, etc.
Simultaneously over the the past decade, E-commerce evolved so quickly that any household, entrepreneur or freelancer can now build a fully functional online shop. Several website builders such as Wix, Weebly or Yola allow anyone to become a digital retailer with a branded storefront simply by clicking on web builder’s e-commerce app, and voilà, they’re an E-retailer. What’s more, they can now promote their products with Google Shopping Ads. When someone searches for their product, Google shows the customer a picture of their item, its price, and their store name. Customers who click on their ad land on their website where they can buy the item.
So How Does a Newbie Handle This Digital Marketing Landscape?
“Its about the search first, and not the engine” Isn’t successful marketing the outcome of understanding the potential prospect so well that you can predict his behavior? So, how about a non-Google Analytics tool?
Before you give in to the temptation of importing all these external apps onto your site, master the fundamentals, first. SiteWit has a fresh, breezy design to give you a quick overview of what’s happening with your website. The minimalist data is easily interpreted. Did I mention it’s free? Oh, yes. So, learn how to track visitors by getting some good ol’ fashion experience.
Next, try measuring your visitors’ actions. Want to know if anyone has completed your contact form? How many visitors completed a purchase? Install SiteWit’s “Goals”. You can add as many as you want.
Then, consider engaging with your visitors in real time: Have an interactive app on your site inviting them to contact you. Get notified by phone whenever someone completes a purchase so you may establish a rapport immediately. SiteWit’s own application “Connect” is an excellent introduction to relationship marketing and it is only $9.00/month.
Empowering users is at the core of SiteWit’s philosophy
Get Stuck? Give us a shout
When you reach out to Karl, Brigitte or Jonathan, you’ll find that the conversation is more free-form than a digital discourse. One topic may tap into another, your thoughts will go a mile a minute as you receive our input, and there you are without something to jot down the gems that are whizzing by!
Is the world still in its infancy stage about the wonders of pay per click marketing?
In 2007 while I was working for Bing as a Small Business Advisor, I recall waiting impatiently for the results of a study Microsoft conducted to get insight why small businesses were avoiding paid search advertising Pay Per Click.
8 years later, the results are all so vividly fresh in my mind. I’m still surprised at how many small business owners are opposed to, or intimated by, a pay-per-click advertising model.
Many are perfectly content to pay commissions to their sales people for prospecting leads and closing sales, but are reluctant about paying for each click/lead that comes from digital marketing. Worse yet, they still spend thousands on traditional outbound-focused methods like direct mail or telemarketing.
Why do businesses persist on generating leads with an outdated mindset?
Because marketing on web-based platforms is so different from traditional methods.
Times have changed and the same rules don’t apply anymore. We have new platforms that didn’t exist in the past, and they have changed how consumers communicate with organizations. Most practices of the past are directly at-odds with today’s methods.
Understand the Search Engines’ Business Model to Control Advertising Costs:
The fear of the “leaking faucet”.
A theme I address every day is the fear of losing control over the marketing spend. To put you at ease, let’s shed some light on how search engines allocate your advertising dollars:
If you decide to set your budget to $5.00 per day ($150/month), then after your $5.00 per day maximum is reached, you are no longer listed on the search engine for that day, and your ads stop displaying. There is no rule that says you need to have a large campaign and a whopping budget for a pay per click campaign to work. Search engines will encourage you to spend more so that your ads display more frequently, but the ultimate decision about your budget lies with you. You’re usually so busy working in your business, you don’t have time to work on your business, but there is also no rule that says you should hire a PPC expert to succeed.
SiteWit offers an out-of-the-box campaign management solution with safety measures designed to put you in control of your budget
You have control over what you spend, when you spend, and how you spend. To control your media spend, decide on a daily budget. The daily budget is the dollar amount you are willing to exhaust each day on a particular campaign. Multiply the daily number by 30 to know what your maximum monthly amount will be. If you’re uncomfortable with the number, lower your daily budget to an amount that allows you to sleep soundly at night. As you gain confidence that from the return on investment , then you can increase the daily budget upward.
“I cannot afford to pay for each click”
I’m always up for a good Lewis Black-style rant. So pretend that I’m practically shouting this to you in his “I’m-about-to-have-a-stroke way”
Say you spent $280 in one month on clicks, but you made a sale of $430 that month. Looking at the big picture (no tunnel vision here), you would probably agree that the $280 was well spent since the sale is the direct result of your advertising strategy, not to mention the added value of branding your product on the marketplace by your ads displaying – and your profit is $150!
“I already tried PPC and it was a huge waste of money”
To the uninitiated, the process of using paid search can be daunting. Because hiring a PPC expert or outside agency is not an option, small businesses frequently try it on their own but they typically don’t do well because it takes time and expertise to manage PPC campaigns.
If I can leave you with any single concept, it’s that you should not be afraid of search engine marketing.
SiteWit offers a self-service basic configuration that makes it easy for new advertisers to open an account and start advertising in less than an hour. Begin with a small PPC campaign and allow yourself the opportunity to understand the basic mechanics of how the process operates. What’s more, you can stop the campaign at anytime with the click of a button.
Google is an unconventional company with a huge stake in our online lives. Have you ever wondered how the company manages to maintain its innovative capacity? A major factor is the importance placed on the individual. It doesn’t take much research to understand that the status of the individual is very strong at Google.
- The “Chief Culture Officer” is an actual job title at Google. His or her main responsibility is to retain the company’s unique culture: flat organization, no hierarchy and a collaborative environment. It has local culture teams all over the world.
- If a Google employee dies, their spouse gets half pay for 10 years.
A new mother can take up to 4.5 months of paid leave after giving birth, and a new father can take up to 6 weeks of paid leave.
- Employees are encouraged to use 20% of their productivity on brainstorming new ideas. It helps individuals apply their creativity and align it with the company philosophy. Google News is an example of a project that grew from this working model
- Shared Set of Values: Changing the world through the internet, being non-political, and “Don’t Be Evil” are are three of them. Such values obviously resonate with many of us and can explain employees’ adherence to the company’s philosophy. These core values instilled by the founders are integrated into the company culture and distilled in the management style.
- Attitudes: Google rents goats! Yes, you read that right. Sometimes Google uses the help of some hungry goats to chomp weeds and keep their lawns in shape. That’s an eco-friendly alternative to herbacides and lawn mowers …..
- In the year 2013 alone, they acquired 35 startups, that’s about 3 per month. One of these is Nest – the programmable digital thermostat which connects to Wi-Fi. It also features an app to connect to your thermostat from a phone.
Mobile devices account for 52% of paid search clicks – Yet another reason to optimize your campaign for mobile ads.
Mobile phone listings work: 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from Google Search
1 in 3 searches on Google is local. Yes, 33% of searches on Google are related to location
The keyword “insurance” is the most expensive keyword: Cost? average $55 per click! “loans” and “mortgage” are the next 2 most expensive at around $45/click
Google’s cost per click actually dropped by 11 % in Q4 of 2014 while Yahoo-Bing’s increased by 6%
The top 3 paid ad spots get 41% of the clicks on the page
The first adWords ad goes back to year 2000 and it was for live mail-order lobsters
At least 95% of Google’s total revenue comes from advertising
Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Adwords
Spending on PPC Ads rose 12% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2014
Sources: blog.wishpond.com expandedramblings.com searchengineland.com searchenginewatch.com wordstream.com
In recent years, many of us have turned to self-employment out of necessity or choice – or both – Whether you are a freelance writer, a yoga instructor, a real estate broker, a photographer, an accountant or a plumber, you might be nervous about diving into digital marketing. More often than not, you have a razor-thin budget and are less proficient at marketing than at your vocation.
We get that you’re nervous about jumping into a marketing channel probably virtually unknown to your business. Navigating the paid search advertising market can be intimidating. There is a lot of terminology and the scenarios can get complex so that you’re likely to give up or – worse – get in over your head.
Pay per click search marketing is essentially buying advertising in response to specific things that people type into a search engine like Google. Today’s post uses a specific example to provide you with a general idea of the moving pieces surrounding paid search marketing (PPC)
Let’s say I’m trying to rent a house in Tampa. I will tell Google that I want to show up when people search for tampa house. This is very efficient as it allows me to answer someone’s specific need now, while they’re searching.
Next, I will compile a list of words I want to show up for, such as south tampa house, waterfront tampa house, and so on. Keep in mind that it’s near-impossible to identify every single keyword a good prospect might type in.
What if they search for best waterfront house tampa
What if they’re in Tampa and just type in waterfront house?
What if they type in high end tampa house
What if they search by number of bedrooms, square footage?
You get the idea: there are several variations people might use to look for a house in Tampa.
To help with this, I will also target terms that Google considers similar to Tampa house. This allows me to receive prospects from relevant search terms I might not otherwise have attracted. But there is a downfall: the search engine might think that since I want to attract prospects for my tampa house, I’m also interested in attracting visitors searching for cheap tampa house because these two seem similar to Google.
But I am looking to rent a waterfront tampa house, so what happens next?
Our scenario here looks something like this:
How do I avoid clicks from people who are not really my ideal prospects?
I create a second list of words: These are words I don’t want to show up for. So now, I’m trying to understand what a bad prospect looks like. An example is the word free because I do not rent my home for free and I don’t intend to offer a “free” month’s rent in the terms of the rental lease. Makes sense?
Last, but not least, I’ll take keywords and make sure I match the message in my ads with the landing page of my website. My goal here is to create compelling ads that stand out from competitors, and only attract the right type of traffic. Then, I want to make sure people arrive to an awesome landing page that makes them contact me quickly and easily. To do this, I will highlight what sets my house apart from other waterfront houses for rent, and I’ll write a compelling ad to persuade a visitor to click on it.
You should now have a general understanding of paid search. Please note that I omitted several components such as bidding, match types etc. The good news is that these components are totally automated by SiteWit, an online marketing platform specifically dedicated to solopreneurs, freelance professionals, and micro-enterprise. SiteWit offers easy access to Certified Paid Search Advisors who guide you along their user-friendly interface to make your paid search painless, and your working hours on your specialty more productive.
A few of us old-timers remember life before digital advertising. I didn’t start out in Pay Per Click.
In fact, it didn’t exist when I started working.
As human beings, we can’t help it. We fall victim to a fixed mindset: we approach new things with the frame of reference of the old things. Our frame of reference is like a security blanket.
As solo-preneurs or small business owners, this often means we apply the same mindset to digital media as with traditional advertising: newspaper, radio, outdoor signs, direct mail distribution.
This may not be a surprise, and I don’t expect it to be. Still, an overwhelming majority of business owners, solo-preneurs, still apply a traditional bias to their online efforts, which leads to poor performing campaigns.
Nearly every profession has its essential tools or equipment. A plumber has a his pipe wrench, an automotive repair shop uses diagnostic testers, and a writer has a computer. PPC is no different…
PPC has … a DIY online marketing tool designed for the complete novice in paid search advertising. It’s called SiteWit: start with free website analytics. Then use SiteWit step by step to launch search campaigns across Google, Bing and Yahoo. Maximize your search budget and advertise online with confidence by leveraging SiteWit’s automated management and optimization tools.
While it’s certainly feasible to manage PPC campaigns on your own by learning the online interfaces of Google and Bing/Yahoo, it takes a significant level of experience and knowledge to balance the spend and results. And why should you master this tedious craft if there is a tool which automates the process anyway? Who wants to to use a typewriter in this day of computers?
So, you could give yourself permission to screw up and learn the craft the hard way or …. use the right tool for the job!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people write off pay per click campaigns by saying “We already tried that … It didn’t work”. Before placing the blame on the search engine, and shifting money into direct mail or newspaper ads, take the time to reflect on why the campaign didn’t work.
As opposed to traditional advertising, campaigns don’t have a start date and an end date. Don’t expect sales to double the first week of December because you started a campaign mid-November. Don’t turn off a campaign after you’ve spent only $100 and haven’t seen any leads yet. Most marketers lack patience and shut down a campaign if they aren’t seeing results instantly.
You Need To Sustain A Budget
Just like you need to keep the gas tank of your car filled, you need to replenish the budget of your campaign. If your car is a small Chevy, you spend a modest amount on gas. If you decide to upgrade to an Audi because you need a vehicle to get to your destinations faster, surely, you’re anticipating spending twice the amount on gas and maintenance. The same applies to your campaign: just like you need to increase your budget on gas and maintenance of an Audi, you need to increase the advertising budget if you want to generate the anticipated results quicker.
Don’t think that you can just throw a few dollars into PPC to boost business while neglecting a mediocre site. Every week, I reach out to website owners providing recommendations to enhance the visibility of their contact information. Take a look at your website. Does it convey credibility, professionalism and trust? It does not matter how well you fine-tune your campaign: if your website has broken links, unresponsive buttons, grammar mistakes, pages loading slowly, you will lose many potential customers.
Paid search marketing does not operate in a bubble. Most visitors to your site will research your products via several other channels before deciding to return to your site to purchase or contact you. Many factors will impact the effectiveness of your campaign regardless of your budget and the quality of your website: do you have negative reviews online which visitors may find while researching? is your business seasonal for your industry? is your activity so recent that you do not have an established reputation mentioning your service? Before you declare PPC a waste of time and money, take the time to determine why the campaign didn’t meet your expectations.
SiteWit enhances its user-interface to debut the new year!
A seamless navigation focused on you, our customer.
Accordingly, changes we make are always “intuitive”, reflecting the weight we put on customizing our interface according to the input we receive from our customers.
Increased functionality of keywords and ads:
Care to see what the search results on Google are if you enter a keyword? Select keywords related to your core business activity. Assign a rating to each keyword. Then, watch our interface instantly display Google search results for each of the keywords you submitted as related to your industry.
As you create your headline, text and a call to action, a simulation of your ad appears exactly as it would display on the search engine results page. Don’t like what you see? Revise your ad until its visual display appeals to you!
Steering your Campaign in the Right Direction: Managing Keyword Performance:
- Pausing keywords: As you may already know, indicators of each keyword’s performance are accessible via the “Home” tab. These indicators enable you to decide whether you should keep a keyword in your campaign or not. Do you see low-performing keywords (performance of keywords is color-coded)? Head over to the “Campaign” tab where you will edit your keyword list. Select the drop-down list and click on “paused keywords”. Select keywords you wish to pause, the green button (enabled keywords) will now turn to yellow. Remember to “Save”! Great, now the lion’s share of your budget is directed to keywords generating traffic to your site.
- Negative keywords: These put an end to wasteful spending and worthless display of your ads. They prevent irrelevant clicks from eating up your budget. As an example, if you do not offer anything free of charge, then the word “free” should be entered as a negative keyword. This feature is also accessible from the campaign tab. Give us a shout if you would like us to guide you on setting your negative keywords, as this contributes to an efficient management of your budget.
We hope you agree that these changes will empower you to steer your campaign in the chosen direction. To ensure that you reap the most benefits of these improvements, do not hesitate to reach out to us:firstname.lastname@example.org We are just an email away.
As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and those who have helped to shape our business. It’s been quite a year for us all! We hope that 2014 has been just as memorable for you, your colleagues and your loved ones. We look forward to working with you in the years to come.
What happens once your visitors click on your ad and they arrive on a page not finding what you promised?
They “bounce” off your site, you loose a sales-lead, and you pay for the cost of the click. No amount of Google AdWords $100 free advertising credits is going to change bad marketing habits. It probably sounds like I’m having a go at you, I’m not. I’m simply sharing the most common (and costly) mistake 98% of new advertisers are doing.
There are 2 pillars to a successful Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign: Message Match and Landing Page
If the message on your ad does not resonate immediately with the headline of your landing page, your campaign will under-perform and your page will have a high “bounce rate.”
Keep The Promise: Follow through on your ad’s statement: Your visitor should make a seamless connection as you lead them from an engaging and enticing ad to a rewarding landing page which should do the heavy lifting and convert your visitors into leads and customers. Below is an example of an ad matching the headline and messaging of the landing page (because you’re reading the SiteWit blog, you would never send ppc traffic to your home page, right?) The benefits of developing good marketing habits by applying pillars 1 and 2 are: 1. Your campaign is more likely to be successful because visitors are instantly reaffirmed that they can get what the ad stated. 2. Because you are providing your visitors with a better experience, the “bounce rate” will be reduced. Search engines do take note, and this does contribute to lowering your cost per click. 3. Less work for Brigitte because I don’t have to work on so many ads to get you off to a flying start!